Another day, another solid pitching performance by a St. Louis starting pitcher. Kyle Lohse threw a complete two-hitter to beat the Nationals 5-0. It was the Cards first complete game two-hit shutout since Jose DeLeon did it in April of 1989. Hopefully Redbird fans don’t have to wait another 20+ years to see this performance again, and at the rate that the staff is throwing the ball, they may not have to wait another full season.
Lohse’s performance, as great as it was, may not be the most impressive of the rotation. Kyle McClellan spent his first three season’s in the league as a reliever. He has always wanted a shot as a starter, and this year he has made the most of his opportunity. McClellan has recorded a 2-0 record through his three quality starts, and his ERA is a miniscule 1.89. When ace Adam Wainwright suffered a season ending injury early in spring training, the Cards chances looked bleak. Ever since McClellan got his first start, nobody has mentioned Wainwright’s absence.
On Opening Day, the only two pitchers that were not question marks were Chris Carpenter and Jamie (that’s pronounced HI-may) Garcia. Carp has looked good so far, but just hasn’t caught enough breaks to make his winless record look good. He has three of his four appearances have resulted in quality starts– two losses and two no decisions. That should change when he faces the Reds this weekend. Over the years he as posted a 9-0 record with a 1.56 ERA vs. Cincinnati.
Garcia is back to his old form that he displayed in the first half of his rookie year. He is 3-0 with just one no decision. The hurler also boasts the third best ERA in the National League at 1.44. Having a three to one strikeout to walk ratio has also helped out his cause.
The only pitcher in the rotation that has not panned out the way upper-management hoped he would has been Jake Westbrook. Westbrook was acquired in a trade last year from the Cleveland Indians. He has posted a 9.82 ERA, is 1-2 and only has nine strikeouts on the season. If Westbrook could get rolling, this rotation would be extremely underrated, but very dangerous, especially into the the late summer months.
The Cards started slow starting out 2-6, but have won eight of 11 since. Blowing four games in the ninth inning already this season hurts pretty bad, but they have shown the potential is there as they offense has started to heat up as well. They need to take care of business this weekend to try to take early control of the division. All eyes will be on the Cardinals and Reds who will play each other for the first time this season tonight at 7:15 at Busch Stadium.